Is anyone having a year like Andrew Garfield’s?
Following a lengthy stage hiatus (which nabbed him a Tony Award), the actor stormed the fourth quarter of 2021 with back-to-back film releases in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and “Tick, Tick … Boom!” The latter has placed him front and center for Oscar contention in the best actor category. And then came December.
The cat is, well, out of the bag that Garfield — despite sly denials — reprises his role as Peter Parker in Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” alongside reigning webslinger Tom Holland and the O.G. arachnid Tobey Maguire.
Co-produced with Marvel, the latest film is approaching $1.4 billion at the worldwide box office and has deeply satisfied fans across age demographics and franchises. It also provides yet another dimension to Garfield’s skill set. In the same season, Garfield has portrayed a tortured teen hero, a morally bankrupt pastor, and a devoted artist teetering between ruin and revelation.
Garfield caught up with Variety to discuss his return to the Spider-Verse, and the response to his portrayal of Jonathan Larson in “Tick, Tick … Boom!”
SPOILER WARNING: Do not read further if you wish to avoid spoilers for “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
Starting simple, why did you say “yes” to “No Way Home”?
I wasn’t expecting to ever have a conversation again about potentially playing Peter Parker. I felt very excited to just to be a fan again. But I got this call from Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige and Jon Watts with this idea. It was immediately undeniable. It sounded incredibly fun, incredibly spiritual — trippy and thematically interesting. On a base level, as a Spider-Man fan, just the idea of seeing three Spider-Men in the same frame was enough.
The pitch was really, really enticing. They said, “You played this character in your way and what would you want to explore if you had an opportunity? If you were dumped into this other universe and faced with this younger you and this older you, how will you respond?”
We talked a lot about mentorship. We talked a lot about brotherhood and about what it is to be the older brother, younger brother and the middle brother. There’s also a thing of seeing someone you love walking down a path that you’ve already walked down, and you know it doesn’t lead the place where you ultimately meant to go.
That character is isolated in his emotional experience and physical experience. But what happens when that aloneness gets blasted open, and you come to realize that you’ve never been alone and there are other brothers going through the exact same thing? That’s a big spiritual journey to go on, man. And then we just milked out all the fun that we could possibly have.
You and Tobey Maguire really did this. This wasn’t a green screen set up in your driveway. And they have a profound impact on Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.
We were shooting for two weeks, Tobey and I, but I think we managed to achieve something that is not just showing up and going, “Hi! Bye!” My Spider-Man got to save his younger brother’s romantic relationship, potentially. And to heal the most traumatic moment of his own life…